Displaying items by tag: Police

Wednesday, 16 October 2019 14:08

Man Charged in Connection with Multiple Burglaries

BALLSTON SPA – A 25-year-old Clifton Park man was charged in connection with multiple burglaries and thefts in residential neighborhoods in the Crescent Road, Moe Road, Lapp Road and Grooms Road areas of Clifton Park.   

The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office has investigated the incidents since Oct. 4 during which residents have reported that their homes have been entered during the overnight hours while they were sleeping and items, including purses and wallets, have been stolen. Other residents reported that items were stolen from their vehicles and/or they saw a suspicious subject near their home on their home security systems, according to authorities. Most of the stolen items, excluding the cash, were located discarded in the area after the thefts.

In the early morning hours of Oc. 15, the Sheriff’s Office responded to several residences in the Moe Road area of Clifton Park who reported burglaries and thefts. An alert deputy sheriff in the area spotted a man walking on Moe Road and stopped to speak to him. Sheriff’s Office investigators also responded and resulted in Tyler E. Lester being charged with 8 counts of Burglary in the Second-Degree, 3 counts of Attempted Burglary in the Second-Degree, 1 count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth-Degree, 1 count of Petit Larceny and 1 count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh-Degree.

Lester was arraigned by Judge Hughes in Clifton Park Town Court and is currently being held in the Saratoga County Jail on no bail. NYS Parole has also lodged a parole warrant for Lester for violating his parole. Lester is currently on parole for burglary.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a public thank you to the residents of the Town of Clifton Park for assisting with this investigation by reporting the suspicious circumstances.

Published in News

Photo By Lindsay Wilson 

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Wednesday, June 19, 2019, Joseph Koren, 24 of Saratoga Springs was charged with felony Criminal Possession of a Weapon: Loaded Firearm; Criminal Possession Stolen Property; Tampering With Physical Evidence, and a misdemeanor on Resisting Arrest.

Officers from the Saratoga Springs Police Department (SSPD) responded to Hathorn Blvd, just about one and a half miles away from Geyser Road Elementary School. The police were notified around 8:30 a.m. that a man (later identified as Koren) was harassing a paving crew working on Hathorn Blvd.

At 8:45 a.m. the Saratoga Springs District Office was notified by the Saratoga Springs Police Department (SSPD) that there was suspicious activity occurring in the Geyser Crest Neighborhood.

“At that point, we only had faculty and staff in the building, so police recommended that we go into a lockdown so all of our faculty and staff took cover,” said superintendent Michael Patton.

Meanwhile, at the scene, the paving crew had directed the responding officer towards the back of a home on Hathorn Blvd. According to SSPD, Koren was observed to be pointing a weapon at two men in the backyard. The responding officer attempted to control the situation with verbal commands, which went ignored as Koren leaped over a fence.

“Once we get enough cops there, we start doing a search for him. We find the gentleman hiding in some bushes on Tiffany Place at a home there. He does not have the handgun on him at that point,” said Investigations Lieutenant Bob Jillson.

After a thorough search, the officers find the handgun matching their description under gardens near the spot where he was apprehended. The gun was later identified to be a stolen, and fully loaded .38 caliber revolver.

There was a strong police presence at the Geyser Road Elementary, where the school lockdown turned into a lockout once the school board was notified that the suspect was apprehended.

"The busses actually were rerouted to the transportation department which is a few miles away, so the students were safe, away from the building,” said Patton. “At 9:45 once the police department gave us the okay to clear the building, the students were routed back here to the school."

Faculty and staff were at the front of the school greeting the students when the buses arrived. At 10:16 a.m. the pledge of allegiance came across the loudspeaker, as the school continued with their day.

Koren is currently remanded to the Saratoga County Jail on $20,000 cash/ $40,000 bond. 

Published in Education

BALLSTON SPA – A 31-year-old Saratoga Springs accused of causing serious physical injury to his Boston Terrier, was convicted Monday by a Saratoga County jury of one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animal, according to Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen.  

The man, Aaron Brinkley, was convicted of brutally beating his 29-pound Boston Terrier “Riko,” with a hammer, inflicting injuries that ultimately led to Riko’s death.

“We are pleased that the Jury held the Defendant accountable for this especially depraved conduct,” Heggen said.

The trial began last week with jury selection, continued with more than 7 witnesses and over 50 items of evidence. Heggen commended the efforts of the Saratoga Springs Police Department for their work investigating the case. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 14. Brinkley faces a maximum of two years in the Saratoga County Jail.

Published in News
Friday, 13 April 2018 10:19

Changing Times, Changing Tactics

They crept down the hallway, two abreast, draped in their flak jackets and helmets and with weapons drawn.

A dispatcher’s voice crackled over the radio: “loading dock, amphitheater, for an individual armed with a handgun.”

City Police, State Police, State Park Police and members of the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department gathered this week at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center to practice responding to terror scenarios involving an active shooter.

“It’s reality based and we try to do this as realistically as possible,” said State Park Police Lt. Donald Benware, as the officers took turns walking through the theater’s backstage area, confronting a “shooter,” and exchanging a volley of simulated rounds.

“We try to put the officers at a higher stress level (in the training). Let’s face it, we’re all human beings. Your blood pressure is going to go up. Get the adrenaline level up so they can feel that adrenaline rush and make sound decisions,” Benware said. “Also, it’s very important be able to come down off that. After an incident happens, they may be moved to another location and they need to be able to bring that heart rate down, bring their decision-making skills back into a more focused ability.”

One benefit of involving multiple agencies in the scenarios is that it builds a familiarity between law enforcement officials who don’t normally work alongside with one another. “Doing this type of training, we all get to see different faces and know different people and how they react in situations, so you have a little bit of a confidence, a little bit of an edge in a worse-case scenario if you have to respond to something like this,” Benware said.

Over the past 50 years, incidents have prompted law enforcement agencies to re-think their roles in response. In the 1960s, police departments began building special teams in reaction to terror-based incidents. The city of Los Angeles led the way with their Special Weapons and Tactics unit, or SWAT. But, the police response to active shooter incidents began to change following the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. Police showed up almost immediately after the shooting began, but waited for SWAT officers, who didn’t enter the school until much later. Police departments today focus more on stopping the shooter as quickly as possible, rather than waiting for SWAT teams to arrive, according to the 2014 report “Critical Issues In Policing Series,” published by Police Executive Research Forum.

Since that time, names like Columbine and Sandy Hook, Parkland and Virginia Tech became part of the sad map in American consciousness.

Last month, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo announced he has a team of four deputies assigned to schools throughout the county who patrol during the day shift as well as the afternoon shift, and periodically conduct a school walk-thru to interact with students and school staff. While notable incidents have occurred in schools, some of the deadliest single day mass shootings in U.S. history have recently occurred where large gatherings of people come together: 49 people were killed and more than 50 injured inside an Orlando nightclub in 2016, and last October 58 people were killed and nearly 500 injured when a 64-year-old man opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers in Las Vegas.

“We pull scenarios right out of the headlines,” explained Saratoga Springs Police Department Lt. Shane Crooks. “We look at different incidents that happen around the country and the world and we take those and fit them into a situation with the area that we have here. Any place you have a large gathering increases your risk of an attack. And this multi-force reality-based training here - we’re training where an incident could occur,” he said.

“The four agencies represented here today are the ones who will be here if something happens. By doing this type of training, we are preparing. We’ll have a better response, we’ll handle the situation better and keep everything safer,” Crooks said. “Every officer here is also learning the layout of SPAC, the grounds and the amphitheater itself, so if they do have to respond to a call, they’ll have that knowledge ahead of time.”  

“This is in our jurisdiction. This is our home and our responsibility. That’s why we’re choosing this venue,” Benware added.  

“We did have an incident back in the ‘70s in Saratoga Springs, at St. Peter’s. So, it can happen,” said Crooks, noting a December 1975 incident when a 32-year-old man recently discharged from the U.S. Navy aimed his .22-cal. handgun out his second-floor apartment window and fired four shots into St. Peter’s Elementary School playground. Two 7-year-old girls were injured.

“Every time something happens we re-evaluate our training, we change our tactics to prepare our officers to better respond to an incident,” Crooks said. “We want to respond as quickly as possible and we train the officers that we need to have a fast response to eliminate the threat.”

Published in News

MECHANICVILLE – Two teens have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of 19-year-old David Feliciano which occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7.

Authorities said Thursday 19-year-old Nikolai Mavashev, of Halfmoon, and 16-year-old Joseph Broscko, of Clifton Park, were apprehended Wednesday night.

The incident took place inside of Feliciano’s house, who was home alone.  

Authorities said the parties were acquainted with one another and that there is a motive, but are reluctant to divulge any other information at this time so as to not hamper prosecution efforts.

The Mechanicville Police Department, which was assisted by state police investigators, received as many as 50 leads regarding the case and sought to assure the public, while more arrests may be pending, that those suspected of doing the actual shooting have been apprehended.    

Mavashev and Broscko are being held at Saratoga County Jail.  

Published in News
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 15:23

City School District Teacher Facing Rape Charges

A 48-year-old teacher in the Saratoga Springs School District was charged with first-degree rape, in connection with alleged incidents that involved the current fifth-grade teacher at the Dorothy Nolan Elementary School and an underage child.

According to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department, Elizabeth M. Barthelmas, of Wilton, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a child under the age of 13 during the years 2007 and 2008. The child had been a student in Barthelmas’ classroom prior to the suspected incident(s) taking place – which are believed to have occurred at Barthelmas’ home in Wilton.

Barthelmas was charged with Rape in the First-Degree, Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child, and Criminal Sexual Act in the First-Degree. All charges are felonies.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that they only recently received information regarding the alleged incident, that they informed the school administration as soon as possible and that the school district was fully cooperative with the investigation. 
Barthelmas was arraigned Wednesday in the Wilton Town Court and sent to Saratoga County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond. Barthelmas was hired by Saratoga Springs Schools on 2005. Prior to that she was a teacher in the Queensbury Union Free School District.

The Sheriff’s Office investigation is on-going, and asks that anyone with further information on suspected inappropriate behavior involving Barthelmas to call the Sheriff’s Office at 518-885-6761.

Published in News

Jerry Carpenter Jr. died in June, a few hours shy of his 21st birthday, his family by his side.

In an emotionally moving ceremony Tuesday night at City Hall, Carpenter’s family thanked Saratoga Springs Police Officer Bill Arpei for answering the call to tend to the Saratoga Springs High School graduate in his time of need. 

“On that day, June 2, that afternoon, the call was received by an officer for a young man in cardiac arrest,” family friend Donna Flinton told a chamber room crowded with residents and council members gathered to decide the city’s business. The call was placed by Carpenter’s sister. From Jefferson Terrace, the emergency was reported as a young man in severe medical distress.

“Officer Arpei responded within minutes of the call and assessed everything. He started chest compressions and continued to do so even after EMS came to take over,” Flinton said. “Unbeknownst to the officer, Jerry had only one working lung as well as a host of other complications. With Officer Arpei’s CPR, his not giving up on our boy and EMS’ help, Jerry was resuscitated.”

Although resuscitated, the young man whose obituary remembers him as an innocent soul with a brave heart who spread love to all who knew him, passed away a week later.

“The officer was asked to be kept in the loop, and we did,” Flinton said. “We informed Officer Arpei that Jerry had passed, and of the funeral arrangements, hoping he would perhaps come. He sure did. And in full uniform. It gave the family and myself great pride to know the Saratoga Springs Police Department would allow Officer Arpei not just to attend, but to salute as we passed by,” she recalled. “With that, my friends, everyone just cried. That was our time. And that was the time he gave us. He not only refused to give up on him, but he cared - and caring and compassion is not always prevalent in today’s society.”       

One of the young man’s sisters handed Arpei a keychain, to signify the day her life forever was changed and the moment the officer was welcomed as a member of the family. With the presentation of a statue she noted how they would never forget the officer’s actions.

“When we look at you, we see Jerry,” Flinton said. “Because of you, his mother was able to sit with him for the last few days he had, hold his hand and tell him he could go dance in heaven with his grandfather. His grandmother was able to kiss him one last time and tell him that she loved him.  His sisters were able to say goodbye and lay with him as he took his last breath - and we celebrated his birthday - because in some country he was 21,” she told the officer, who joined the city police department five years ago. “These are the moments the family will cherish forever and they know they wouldn’t have had them if it wasn’t for you.”  In the crowded council chamber overcome by silence some in the crowd choked back tears.

 “We feel it was time to express our family’s gratitude towards one of our own,” she said. “Saying just thanks, we think, is not appropriate. But that’s all we’ve got.” Residents and council members alike stood up and the chamber erupted in a lengthy ovation.  

 

City Approves Purchase of Pitney Farm: Westside Farm to Stay a Farm Forever

After much deliberation, the council unanimously approved the city purchase of the development rights of the 166-acre Pitney Farm on West Avenue.

The city is spending $1.165 million - $1.13 million outright and $35,000 in closing costs –   to purchase the development rights to ensure the farm land will remain a farm in perpetuity.

Members of the council had expressed hope that a portion of the 166-acre farm could be used to house recreation fields for youth sports such as soccer, field hockey and lacrosse. DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco was especially adamant that the city may have done a better job negotiating the fields into the land contract, as the city lacks those resources.

The closing is scheduled to take place in mid-December. At the same time, the city will issue a bond anticipation note. The interest will be 0.95 percent, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan said.       

A contract of sale for the farm was signed between the Pitney Family and the newly created 501(c)(3), Pitney Meadows Community Farm. The vision for the farm includes the creation of a community agricultural resource center to function as a teaching facility and incubator, as well as offering access to the community to cultivate gardens and enjoy nature trails on the property.

 

City Amends Sidewalk Sitting Ordinance – Penalties Reduced, Law Still in Effect 

The city's controversial “sit and lie ordinance,” which was adopted in June and makes it unlawful for any person to sit or lie down upon a public sidewalk, was amended by the City Council this week. The changes include a streamlining of exceptions to the law; those exceptions allow for medical emergencies, or in curbside areas permitted for street performers, as well as easing penalties for code violators. 

The previously adopted penalties called for a minimum $50 fine for first offenders, escalating to misdemeanor charges with the potential of up to 30 days of jail time and fines of up to $500 for repeat offenders. The new penalties call for a maximum $50 fine for first offenders. Subsequent offenders would be subject to a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days, according to the city’s general penalties for offenses, posted on the city website.   

The New York Civil Liberties Union submitted testimony alleging both the original law and the amended proposal targets homeless people and is unconstitutional and should be rescinded altogether. Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen – who brought forward both the original and amended proposals – argued that the ordinance was based on other municipalities’ existing ordinances and that “it does pass constitutional muster.”  The council members were in general agreement in expressing belief that the ordinance is related to pedestrian safety issues and does not target the city’s homeless population. The amended ordinance was approved 4-1, with city Mayor Joanne Yepsen casting the lone vote against. “I don’t like this law and I don’t see a need for it,” said Yepsen, who also cast the lone voted against the initial proposal in June.    

 

On a High Note, City Center President Says Goodbye

Longtime Saratoga Springs City Center President Mark Baker delivered the City Center Authority’s annual report for 2015 to the council on Tuesday. In 2015, the City Center hosted 154 events and secured 252 days of paid activities - marking the highest number of annual paid events in the building’s history. The 2016 schedule already tops that number, Baker added, and reported $2.1 million in sales tax revenue was generated in 2015 for the local community. More than 155,000 people attended events last year.

“For 33 years it’s been a pleasure to serve for you and with you,” said Baker, who last week announced he will retire as the organization’s president at year’s end. “In the last 33 years I think it’s become most obvious that there is no place like Saratoga Springs – our history, our style, our grace,” Baker said..   

 

‘Eyesore’ at Interlaken to be Demolished, Replaced by Single-Family Homes

The council unanimously voted to support a Planned Unit Development SEQRA determination regarding a property on Crescent Avenue in the Interlaken community. The long-abandoned home will be demolished and the land subdivided into four parcels where four single-family homes will be developed. Residents of the neighborhood addressed the council, alternately referring to the existing building as “an eyesore” and “a neighborhood blight,” and outnumbered those opposed to the building’s demolition by a 10-1 margin.  

 

City Public Art Policy Approved; Changes Coming for City Arts Commission

The council unanimously approved a public art policy that will provide a civic planning process for the acceptance and placement of artwork in public areas.

The city Arts Commission – a 20-member advisory board appointed by the mayor in 2015 - will review submissions using artwork and site selection criteria and may recommend to accept or reject an artwork. The Commission is tasked with reviewing proposals for consistency with the city’s goals and where appropriate, recommending acceptance or rejection of such acquisitions for the city. “Public art,” in this scope, is defined as publicly accessible artwork that enriches the city through its aesthetic qualities, considers the social and physical context of the site, and addresses the goals of the city.

The Arts Commission will also undergo changes to its member bylaws. Starting in January 2018, the committee will be comprised of a maximum of 11 members; four will be selected by the commissioners and the balance appointed by the mayor. Currently, all 20 members have been selected by the mayor.

 

 

 

Published in Today in Saratoga
Thursday, 24 January 2013 13:11

A Voice For Veterans: An Introduction

SARATOGA COUNTY - Military men and women. Veterans. Whether reserves, active military, retired after a life-long career, wounded in action, enlisted, non-commissioned officer or officer; they are dedicated individuals who serve their country.

Published in News